Sustaining an injury at work can be extremely costly, as you struggle to pay for medical expenses associated with the injury and take time off work to heal and recover.
Workers’ compensation benefits can provide you with the necessary financial support to pay your medical expenses and other bills while so you can concentrate on recovering from your injury.
The effects of a workplace injury are usually noticeable immediately after the injury or a short time afterward. However, sometimes you might notice the effects of an injury long after the injury occurred, even years later.
Common injuries with long-term effects
This is especially true with certain types of injuries, such as brain, back or repetitive stress injuries, which are injuries caused by using a specific area of your body repeatedly.
You may develop future physical problems such as arthritis, ulcers or chronic pain that come from your original workplace injury. Side effects from medications you took while treating your injury could even cause you problems years into the future.
The effects of injuries might also be psychological. For example, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury after hitting your head at work, you might develop symptoms such as depression, anxiety or anger problems several years after the injury.
Workers’ compensation statute of limitations
Ohio law requires you to file for workers’ compensation benefits with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation within one year of the injury. You must also report the injury to your employer.
Your workers’ compensation benefits pay any necessary expenses related to your work injury. This includes payment for doctor visits, hospital stays, medication, physical therapy, surgery, rehabilitation, tests and travel expenses.
Even though you may not be determined to be totally and permanently disabled, you can continue to experience lifetime effects from your workplace injury. Health conditions, pain and complications can persist long after your workers’ compensation claim was closed, and benefits have been paid out.
Reopening a workers’ compensation claim
If you notice the effect of an injury years later, you might be able to receive additional workers’ compensation benefits. However, since the one-year statute of limitations will have likely run out, you must be prepared to prove that the symptoms or conditions you are experiencing now were directly caused by your original workplace injury.
Whether you can ultimately receive additional workers’ compensation benefits depends on the facts of your case and how it was originally resolved.
Reopening a workers’ compensation claim can be complicated, and not something you likely want to deal with while you are suffering from pain or health issues.
If you need workers’ compensation benefits to pay for the costs of your additional medical care, it is important to learn what steps you must take to reopen your claim. Missing a step or requirement could result in a denial, leaving you unable to pay for the extra costs.
Because there are a lot of questions involved in these types of cases, it is best to have someone evaluate your specific situation and advise you on what to do next.